A phobia for empty space versus streamlined modernism — or, as Mary Katrantzou put it in an artistic framework to her show: ‘Horror Vacui’, referring to the Victorians’ rejection of minimalism in favour of abundant decoration in costume and interior design.
The show that the Greek-born designer sent out on a runway of tooth-gum-pink foam was a tour de force. It showed Mary’s courageous urge for innovation and how far she has come since she offered digitally-printed teacups at the start of the 21st-century pattern revolution.
In an extraordinary vault between technology and art, the designer produced clothes that can truly be labelled original in both art and craft.
This was achieved from different angles. First came the utter plainness of sculpted tops moulded to the breast with a seamless fabric normally used to smooth car roofs.
The result was uber-minimalism, with the only movement coming from the kick at the hem of a skirt.
Then there were bodices in a technical version of flocking, contrasted with traditional lace in the skirt.
That hemline movement, sometimes looking forced, appeared continuously, but often just peeping out from under a knee-length coat.
The baroque music of Handel’s ‘Gloria Eterna’, sung by Greek musical legend Nana Mouskouri, added an opulent flourish.
Last season, Katrantzou created a collection that was equally exceptional by concentrating on nature. But this Autumn/Winter 2015 show that seemed like a battle between minimal and maxi was something else: a truly original concept expressed vigorously in the language of clothes.